SHURUGWI district’s name was dragged in the mud for a long time by young machete –wielding robberies (MaShurugwi) that were erroneously called small scale miners.
The robbers would attack those who would have attracted or sold their gold, killing some and badly injuring others. Police remain on the ground to fight these robbers, and cases have since dramatically declined, not just in Shurugwi but across the country.
Many residents of Shurugwi are outraged that people thing the barbaric criminals hail from their community. The residents have every right to be worried as most of them are honest, hardworking people who do not wish to be enmeshed in fights with law enforcement agents.
The people of Shurugwi South best demonstrate how determined everyone in the district is to get rich through hard work. In the constituency, villagers rely on agriculture and mining activities for a living.
And with underlying support from their area legislator, Honourable Edmond Mkaratigwa, who has spearheaded some of the projects, villagers see their lives transforming as they are set to generate foreign currency for themselves and the nation.
Already, hundreds of households, the community itself and schools have opted to join the garlic growing project as it offers them an opportunity to have more streams of income.
“We started this project with the aim of supporting the community to enhance their income streams and improve their livelihood” said Hon Mkaratigwa.
“I have provided the required funds to kick-start the project and many households have signed up for it”.
The global garlic market is estimated to be over US$5 billion and Hon Mkaratigwa believes his constituency can claim their share of this lucrative market.
“I was inspired by what was happening in Gutu Central under Minister Winston Chitando who started a garlic project for his constituency and they are now exporting the crop and earning forex. So we believe this can also happen here”.
So confident is the community in the garlic project that even schools have adopted it. Residents have also charmed by the crop because it requires minimal capital input as organic manure can be used as fertiliser.
“We are happy to participate in this project as it is not labour and capital intensive” said Mageto.
“Garlic can be grown with organic manure which is readily available in our community. Also the fact we can grow the crop is helpful. But more importantly, the returns from the crop are high and it is a crop in high demand locally and abroad”.
Schools have also joined the project with Chikato school in Ward 7 having a thriving crop which should earn them good returns in the near future.
“The garlic project started with a workshop and with the support of parents we decided to pursue it and the legislator gave us seedlings. We started with 60 beds and as you can see our crop is thriving. At harvest we expect not less than a tonne” said Chengetai Bhasera a teacher at the school.
Another school in the constituency that has adopted the project, Gare High School aims to provide seedlings to prospective garlic farmers for the next season.
The school deputy head Denis Gwaradzimba said “We shall provide seedling to others who want to join the project and provide extra income for the school. Through this project, we have managed to teach our children about income generating projects and provide them with practical skills they can use later on”. Source EDevolution magazine